As we get ready to start the 2021-22 academic year, we have a lot to be thankful for. In review of last year, I can reflect on and know for sure that the MFL MarMac staff were dedicated to the cause as we moved through the year. The School Board was involved with the governing issues and supportive to the needs of the community and the students, which was also a huge element. Our community continued to work with us on every obstacle and opportunity. These actions set up the process for this year. We still have Covid issues to deal with, and we will move based on Iowa Law, the Iowa Department of Education (DE), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). It is going to be a great year!
We have also been reflecting on the 2020-21 year to figure out what things we want to build upon, and what things we want to get rid of. We want to keep the good things we did with Seesaw and Canvas, which are the Learning Management Systems. We are going to continue to be mindful about cleaning procedures we have implemented in common areas. We probably will not be cleaning desks after every period like we did last year but considering that our flu and strep were basically at zero, we need to consider the benefits of some continuation. The virtual Wednesdays will not be continued unless virtual school is later mandated by the state; however, we feel that they did help us – our staff and students how have new technology tools we can use, and we enjoyed a greater amount of collaboration between teachers, that we will work to find ways to continue. It is no new revelation to me that most are glad to not have to wear masks. Currently, we are required by the Iowa Code (280.31) to not mandate masks on school property, however we will support anyone who chooses to wear them. This has been a moving target, and this may change in which we may also have to adapt in the future.
We recently received a $25,000.00 grant for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs that we already have started to have in place. This will involve Authentic Learning and school-to-work type programs that utilize technical skills and on-the-job training. As current reality dictates, not everyone needs to attend a four-year college, and many students can make a very decent wage with training in our local area. This also can/will help our local economy as we can grow our own and keep brainpower in the Northeast Iowa area. The STEM Grant was written solely by Instructional Coach and Teacher Librarian Melissa Haberichter, and I am thankful for her work in this.
We are looking forward to the start of the school year with great anticipation! We will have some new faces among us, and we are looking forward to welcoming our new staff. Our plan, as always, is to keep finding options to support our programs, and to make the best decisions for our children, who always come first.